On May 26th, it was the 50th anniversary of one of the most surreal and famous of any music albums - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles. It was ground breaking but may seem tame now. For those who can remember, it was so far out in left field or so extreme, it started a cult following that was known as the Psychedelic era. You’ve heard the phrase when someone does something radical or extreme or breaks a sporting record - well, they must have been on drugs or something…!
I think it’s safe to say that we know enough about the era to know that was probably true. On that album were some pretty crazy stuff but one song seemed very logical, very down to earth. The song was “A Day in the Life.” It got me thinking about many of the world events that could start with the same line -
The very recent attack on the innocent young people, many children at the Manchester Arena. Some of that day will find it etched in their memory for ever. A child never to return, an injury to remind them of that day.
Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated? I remember only to well the Friday night in front of the TV in England watching a game show and the news broke in, relaying what had taken place.
The day that a war broke out, the birth of a child, the first car we had, the day a couple first met, tragic events, historical events such as the moon landing in 1969 and son on.
Going back to the song, there were the thoughts of what were they under the influence of when they wrote the lyrics. What was the terrorist thinking, what influence was he under to devastate so many lives and so brutally. Maybe, we will never know.
The Inmates and Offenders that we minister to, have plenty of time to reflect on what caused them to follow the course of action that they did to get themselves locked away. A life now restricted by locked doors, limited freedom, devoid of what they have always desired. No waking up and enjoying their child’s laughter or having their face licked by a too friendly pet. Whether the baby is crying too much or too early, some would give anything to suffer the simplicity of home life.
What were you thinking? What was your influence? How could you do such a thing? would be some of the questions that spouses or loved ones will ask. What would be a day in their lives other than to go through the same routine, going through the motions of a day without a Father, Mother, Spouse, loved one. What were you thinking…?
Freedom must be the one area of life which more lives have been lost trying to gain than any other aspect of life. Jim Elliot, a missionary who lost his life before he reached the age of 30. Ministering to members of the Auca tribe in Ecuador, he expressed one of the most profound statements during his young life -
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
Many people have struggled with that phrase, as I did until you realise what influence he was under. He didn’t die alone, there were 4 others with him. Christ McAuliffe was not alone when we watched in horror as the Challenger Space Shuttle disintegrated with 6 of her team members in 1986.
Today, when you take a look at your day - recognize that many millions suffered the loss of their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. Why would you even try to sabotage what they sacrificed their lives for?
It all comes down to how we value life, do we really understand what Jim Elliot was trying to say? Jesus Christ was completely alone when He gave His life for our life and freedom. He paid the heavy price to redeem us from our sins. He was under a significant degree of influence one day in His life -
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3 v 16.
Everyone else who willing laid down their lives for our freedom were following that sacrifice. The day in the life of inmates must not be a tragedy which can never be recovered. We should reflect on our own lives and think of the things we wish that we could take back or maybe even to give thanks that some of our own misdeeds didn't cost us our freedom. That is why we must educate and love the offenders without judgement and finger pointing. Direct them towards a new day in their life. Helping them to consider what influences our actions.